Hill & Knowlton last week announced the creation of the H&K Public Affairs Affiliates Network.
The move formally designated 14 regional agencies as H&K affiliates and was designed to keep the firm's finger on the pulse of regional political landscapes. With outposts in locations ranging from Maine to Montana, the network's activities will include public education, third-party coalition building, grass-roots advocacy and lobbying.
'Influencing legislative and regulatory outcomes is no longer only about well-connected lobbyists and well-funded PACs,' said Tom Buckmaster, chairman of H&K's worldwide public affairs practice. 'It is about people and constituents, and our affiliate network is going to help us reach out to them.'
H&K's public affairs practitioners had previously worked on a project-by-project basis with most of the firms. The affiliation arrangement involves no exchange of ownership.
David Brown, president of Albany-based Sawchuck, Brown & Associates, said the new affiliates all bring to the table knowledge of the nuances of their home markets. 'For H&K, it solidifies their grassroots public affairs capabilities,' he said.
'It will make our existing clients look at us differently, and hopefully open up more opportunities for national accounts,' said Virginia Miller of the New Orleans-based Beuerman Miller Group.
The new affiliates also include: Technical Solutions, Arizona; Schuman Hoy & Associates, Southern California; Runyon, Saltzman & Einhorn, Northern California; Branden J. Kennedy & Associates, Connecticut; Productive Communications, Maine; Mitchell Research & Communications, Michigan; Grassroots Strategies, Missouri; Public Strategies, Oklahoma; Matson & Associates, Washington; and the O'Connor Company, Wisconsin.